“Memory is a central part of how we think of ourselves, and indeed a central strand of what we might know. “
– John Locke (Anderson, 2006)
This quote from philosopher John Locke ( not the one from Lost) is a statement I strongly agree with. We learn and develop through the use of out actions, this includes learning about ourselves. For example, you’d know if you’re scared of heights through past experiences that you remember distinctly, you know what foods you like through your memorable experiences and you learn whether you’d fight or flight in tense situations due to past scenarios. Without trying to sound too broad, I feel that the memory we have molds a personality and the unique way we think. Just like Locke said, “We are only what we remember being” (Anderson, 2006) .
However, following this, the way we think is also the creation of our ideas, ideas we thought there and then were original, but as a matter of fact, it unfortunately turns out that the majority of the time, they are not. They normally appear to be vague fragments of our imagination, along with references our subconscious had recently picked up. This isn’t to say your ideas our completely unoriginal, but usually, they are a distortion of something you had once seen, triggering slight excitement or interest and then a week later, distorted by the fact our memory isn’t 100% accurate, you have the light bulb effect in our memory and this “new” concept has surfaced.
On another note, a main use of keeping us informed on our memory or history are memorials. This could range from war memorials – helping those who weren’t there/ alive to remember and educate us on what had happened to the world – to gravestones – a personal and sentimental reminder to their friends and family, giving them time to reminisce of the part deceased. Many people have regretted spreading the ashes of their loved ones, leaving them to not have an accessible place for descendants or others to remember them instead of them become dust in the wind. Monuments, in one way or another have been with humanity since the beginning of time. This could be to remember a deceased ruler or even their current ruler, as well as sacrilege monuments to gods and saints. Serving as a piece of art yet a permanent record as the future generations, monuments have certainly helped humanity remember our history. Looking at memorials on a more personal level, psychologists have also claimed through research that specific memorials such as funeral processions trigger great emotion in one’s self, an emotional event that usually molds your personality. From here, it’s suggested that the same surge of emotion triggers every time you where to go to their tombstone. This would be the same with a war veteran going to a war memorial. In my opinion, these specific monuments are healthy for us, helping to express and create ourselves into who we are.